Philip's Reviews > Dream Merchants

Dream Merchants by Harold Robbins
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Jul 24, 11

Read from July 18 to 24, 2011

THE DREAM MERCHANTS was Harold Robbins's second novel, published in 1949. It's set against the background of the early days of the motion picture industry, 1908-1938, and is loosely based on the saga of Universal Pictures. Robbins had no trouble getting the basics for the novels background, as he worked for most of the 1940s and into the 1950s as a budget analyst at Universal (which became Universal-International in the late 1940s).

It's been over 40 years since I read THE DREAM MERCHANTS in its entirety - it doesn't appear in a book log I kept from January 1972 into 1976, so it's pretty certain I read it during my 'first' Harold Robbins phase, sometime around 1970 or so. I did undertake a re-reading about four or so years ago, but it was half-hearted and I set it aside about a third of the way through. I'm having a rough time reading this month, and am looked to be engrossed and entertained - if latter-day Robbins (MEMORIES OF ANOTHER DAY) succeeded pretty well at this, then vintage Robbins should fill the bill even better.

7/24: THE DREAM MERCHANTS was, indeed, engrossing and entertaining - the first half was kind of slow, but the pace definitely picked up in the second half, when the founders of Magnum Pictures, Peter Kessler and Johnny Edge, nearly lose the company through a decade-long series of corporate shenanigans (in the early 1930s Carl Laemmle turned running of Universal over to his son, "Junior," as a birthday present - between 1930-1936 Junior made a series of films that were financial losers, though many are today regarded as classics, and he did institute the studio's profitable 'horror cycle' that began with 1930's DRACULA). The Laemmles were forced out of Universal in 1936 (the year Junior's now-classic film of SHOW BOAT was released) and neither ever worked on a film again.
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Reading Progress

07/20/2011 page 103 "Engrossing, but not as fast-paced as THE CARPETBAGGERS, the second novel in his Hollywood Trilogy."
07/23/2011 page 319 "Readable and engrossing, but not quite as fast-paced as later Robbins (though obviously better-written)."

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